It’s fair to say, that any boot with the Predator name has a legacy to live up to. Does the adidas Predator Lethal Zones do the three stripes justice? Or is it out of touch with it’s roots? We find out as they come in for review…
Comfort & Fit – 5/5
The second exceptionally-fitting boot in as many tests, the Predator Lethal Zones excels in this department in a completely different way to the Mercurial Vapor VIII.
Whilst Nike’s new speed-cleat is paper-thin and minimalist, the Lethal Zones cradles the foot, wrapping it in it’s new Hybridtouch synthetic upper and locking it in place with the low-profile SpintFrame chassis.
In particular, the new memory-foam pass-pad brings a great snugness to the midfoot and, along with the laces, helps to reduce slippage. A couple of fitting tips, though;
– This snug midfoot might be a problem for people with flat feet or arch issues.
– As the Predator LZ is synthetic, it will break in but won’t stretch like a natural leather.
Feel & Touch – 4/5
Soft straight out of the box, the adidas Predator LZ offers a great feel on the ball, that is only boosted by the presence of the ‘zones’. As you can see from the video above, the HybridTouch is nowhere near as soft as the Taurus leather on the adiPower, but it does move and flex with the foot, giving and exceptional feel on the ball.
The LZ is more a sum of it’s parts than it’s predecessors; on it’s own the Hybridtouch might only get a 3/5 in this department, but the layout, construction responsiveness of the zones push it up to a comfortable 4.
Looks – 3/5
Distinctive looking in every sense of the word, the Predator LZ has a very ‘busy’ look, with Infrared zones intersecting the already-bright blue upper.
With an Infrared and Black colourway the only other launch option, and a Gold colourway coming up for the new season, if you want a pair of Predator LZs, you had best be prepared to stand out.
Whilst I like all the little bits of detail on the zones, heel and upper – I do wish there was a Black, Silver or White model for those of us who don’t prefer to be as loud on the pitch.
Maintenance – 4/5
Every bit as easy to clean as you’d hope they’d be, the LZ is really easy to look after. The zones are far enough apart so as to let you get in between them with a cloth and unlike -say – the Wave Ignitus, the texture of each panel is easily kept debris-free.
The only area that lets the boot down is the three stripes on the heel. Textured with ‘lozenges’ towards the heel counter and coloured white, they attract dirt more than any other part of the boot.
Other than that, after 6 weeks of wear, we’re happy to report no snapped studs, worn-away zones, separated soleplates or ripped eyelets. adidas have excelled themselves in this area.
Performance – 5/5
Moving on to the Zones themselves, there’s a varying level of how useful they are – but your personal mileage may vary depending on your position or playing style.
For us, The First Touch Zone is one of our favourites; whillst we’re not sure we ever felt a ‘vacuum’ effect as advertised, the added friction in this zone not only helps bring down passes from height, it gives a great feel on the ball if you’re nudging the ball along with the top of your toes.
Dribble might make a difference to some players, but we found it was a little too far down the side of the foot to make any notable difference to our playstyle.
Pass is a great addition. Whilst comparisons to the CTR360 are sure to be made, the memory foam gives a neat, uniform surface to play the ball from.
Drive is the classic Predator zone, offering a huge amount of friction and rebound on the ball when striking or playing a long pass.
Sweet Spot is something of an enigma, whilst using it in conjunction with ‘drive’ often gives a wonderful level of purchase on free kicks, it was a very inconsistent area to strike the ball from; sometimes getting a slight ‘knuckle’ effect, other times flying off target.
Whilst every zone might not contribute to the overall performance of the boot, it doesn’t take anything away – and removing them would likely do little to trim the already attractive 235g weight.
Value – 3/5
Another boot that hits the new status quo of around £150, the £155 adidas Predator Lethal Zones gets the middle-of-the-road 3/5.
Conclusion – 24/30
Boot fans can consider themselves spoiled for choice at the moment, with adidas’ latest release continuing form from the adiZero – helping the threes stripes keep pace with a rejuvenated Nike. An excellent all-rounder, there’s not a position on the pitch where the LZ wouldn’t be at home.
For those who bemoan adidas ‘killing’ the Predator, learn to let go. Yes, it’s not the same boot you grew up with, but football’s not the same as it has been for the last two decades, either. Keep an open mind, and try a pair on – you’ll almost certainly be pleasantly surprised.